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October 1994

Flammability of High-Density Porous Polyethylene: A Potential Intraoperative Fire Hazard

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles, Calif

Arch Ophthalmol. 1994;112(10):1276. doi:10.1001/archopht.1994.01090220026006

W e report a potential fire hazard in the surgical use of high-density porous polyethylene (HDPE).

Report of a Case.  Our patient had sustained an orbital floor fracture. The patient received general anesthesia, and the orbital floor fracture was exposed via a transconjunctival approach. A sheet of HDPE (MEDPOR Implant, Porex Surgical Inc, College Park, Ga) was fashioned to vault the defect and restore the orbital volume. As is our practice, once the sheet was positioned in the orbit, several spots along the leading edge of the HDPE were melted with a high-temperature battery-operated cautery (1200°C) to create a bond between the sheet and the bone of the orbital rim. The sheet ignited, sustaining an open flame. The fire was easily extinguished. The case was completed without further complications, and the patient was unharmed.

Comment.  High-density porous polyethylene is now commonly used as an implant material for repairing orbital wall

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